Essendon favourite Welsh retires

ESSENDON utility Andrew Welsh has announced his retirement after struggling to overcome an ankle injury sustained two years ago.

The Bombers vice captain said his body was struggling to cope with the rigours of AFL and thought it was time to give a younger player an opportunity at senior level.

"I knew that I required surgery on my ankle because it has never been right since I injured it two years ago and then I would have required nine months rehabilitation on top of that," Welsh said.

"In the end, I didn't want to be sitting on the sidelines taking up a spot on the list doing rehab. It was important to me to do the right thing by the club and give a young player a chance.

"I wanted to make the best decision for the footy club I waited until the end of the season to try to take the emotion out of it but after everything this club has given me, I knew it was the right decision."

A favourite among Essendon supporters and team-mates, the 28-year-old said he would miss the day-to-day life at the Essendon club.

"I love the Essendon Football Club and it has been a huge part of my life. It's going to really hard when the realisation sets in that I won't be coming into the club everyday," he said.

"I will miss all the players and the people here at Essendon. There are a lot of good people at the Essendon Football Club and they will be friends for life."

Making his debut in 2002, Welsh played 162 games and kicked 32 goals after being drafted to the Bombers via selection 47 in the 2001 National AFL draft.

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